Played the Vic Theatre in Chicago with Daniel Merriweather and afterwards checked out some Blues players at a spot called ‘Blues”. Eric Guitar Davis man:Amazing playing, authentic and church soul abstractions.
Wow! When you stuble across something like that, your faith is restored.

Next morning up at 6 am to catch a flight to JFK.
Flight leaves on time, all seems well, but when I arrive in New York i am made aware that there will be a 10 hour layover as a result of the Volcano eruption! Great. Wunderbar.

So I check into this lounge called the ‘Oasis’ at JFK. I can highly recommend it.
Internet, beverages , food and even a shower.
I actually got alot of writing done for for the the documentary film I am working on called Rose and Nangabire … finally left for Amsterdam at 10 pm….
Arrived a little late so rushed to check in for my flight to Moscow.
As soon as I got to the terminal for the Aeroflot Moscow leg, it was apparent that chaos, translation issues, under staffing and communist hangover woes were all mine!
A long line of people looking frustrated and impatient and so I got in line and waited..and waited
Somehow…I made my flight to Moscow but Aeroflot is a challenge and I grin and bear it.
Arrive in Moscow and again, chaos…a huge throng of people are directed to “immigration” but there is one sole immigration officer and no real line so just a mass of people looking tired and overwhelmed.
I hear horror stories from others around me of the extreme and horrible bureaucratic shit fight that could ensue. The lone immigration officer had the loudest approval stamp in man’s history.
When he would let someone through you would hear CLUNK …the loudest punctuation of power and authority and revenge… and all of us must be aware…This process took about three hours and finally I was through customs.

I was met by a Rusky with Barnaby Mcall sign and felt great relief and at the same time a desire to musically express all this movement and all these new impressions. I feel so grateful to be a musician and connected to this organic apparatus of images impulses cycles …all distilled into music.

The hotel is very nice and expensive and I basically crash out immediately.
I wake at 4 am Moscow time and am bright as a button. Out the window i can see the venue we will perform at with Gary Bartz (Goudini: The Art of illusion) There is a huge treble clef on its roof!
Meanwhile, I set my keyboard, speakers and pro tools and feel very inspired to keep writing for the film. How amazing is todays technology?… I can actually travel with a pretty powerful studio set up: Reason an pro tools means I can generate some amazing sounds- to me anyway.
I continue writing all day until sound check at 2pm.
Its so great to see the band : Gary , Greg Bandy and James King after all that unfamiliarity and rat racing. The Performance space is nothing but high end.
A magnificent full 12 ft concert Steinway grand, beautiful acoustics, meyer monitors. Stunning.
We play the gig and its such a revelation. Again. When I play in Gary’s quartet I remember why I play music and why I struggle and toil and also, that I have music in me and that this band allows it to come out in the best way .
Gary’s band is such a fantastic chemistry of elements. Just the way things feel and the type of music that results . Its such a wonderful organic interplay and I feel like these guys are brothers to me in a way. Its funny because even though there is a roughness around the edges in this band, I feel like the music translates, it projects a sort of trust and kindred mutuality of music making. Somehow?
I had almost forgotten the sort of flashes and reflections you experiences in a band like this, the letting go, the opening up.
Greg Bandy is such a powerful rhythmic poet and source of fire.
Do not turn it loose.
Igor Butman, the Russian tenor player has put the concert on and he sits in too. Sounds great, probably the best payer in all of Russia and very affable and confident as a musician.
Gary always sounds so dope! He has a laid back nature about his music, so organic and such a story teller. He says “The Ear is God”. He says “everything comes from the melody”…

He tells the story of how Miles Davis liked his unorthodox playing gait. Miles said he and Wayne Shorter had a similar sort of playing stance and that Miles liked it when players looked odd when they played.

Gary also told the story about when Monk was on the road with George Wien and how he wore the same hat for two weeks, every night. Then suddenly one day he came to the gig and had a different hat on. George commented:”Monk, you got a new hat!”
Monks reply was :”you cant wear the same hat every day”!”

Its such a blast hanging out with these old school masters. We just laugh the whole time. I learn so much from them and they are so respectful of me.We sold out of our CDs, the concert was a real success. Fantastic.

As i walked off stage an older lady hands me a bunch of white roses, i gestured to Gary thinking they were for him but she insisted i keep them>?
Wow. Gary Houdini strikes again

I am looking forward to leaving Moscow, I get apprehensive when i cant understand people, they cant understand me and there are way too many grey areas of authority, law, oppression, vengeance, miss construance and corruption.
So easy ~! So… get to airport 4 hours early and again, another cue of confused caged animal looking travelers. When I finally make it to check in there is all sorts of confusion about my ticket.Wunderbar! Three separate ladies try to solve the mystery of my ticket issuance and it takes an hour of fussing before I can check in, Meanwhile a huge line has developed behind me and they are not happy. OK, so i go forward to immigration, the lady officer looks at my passport and then at me on and on, as if I must bear the scrutiny and lack of trust she bore during the communist years. I have started practicing Tonglen, especially at these times. Trying to understand her perspective, breathing it in, accepting it. I find this helps to change the air around an interchange like this. She lets me through. Maybe it worked.

I fly to Amsterdam, …stop over :two hours. Then I fly to Toronto! I have no visa and I will be working at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre with Daniel Merriweather and Corinne Bailey Rae this very night. After all this rigmarole, all this navigation, I must now find it in myself to charm my way into Canada. I practice Tonglen with the immigration guard in the room out the back where illegal aliens are given the once over by very powerful moustachettes. Its funy the way you can present yourself somtimes and also, I was wearing the fine brogues that Daniel had given me and i honestly think, they helped form the guards impression of me. Needless to say, he let me through WITHOUT having a visa. Amazing…